Some commonly asked questions:

What kind of bulbs can I use with Lutron RadioRA 2?

Why should I dim my lights and what are the advantages?

So I understand why I should dim my lights, but why should I dim my lights using Lutron RadioRA 2 rather than a normal dimmer?

Which bulb type is the best to use?

What are dimmer load maximums?

What happens if the control system (repeaters) lose power or stop working?  Will my RadioRA 2 dimmers & switches still work?

Why choose Lutron RadioRA 2?

Have any further questions?  Feel free to contact us, and we will do our best to answer you in a timely manner.

Q: What kind of bulbs can I use with Lutron RadioRA 2?

A: You have the availability to use most incandescent, halogen, LED, and CFL bulbs.  However, you must specify what type of bulb you will be using.  RadioRA 2 dimmers will work with most incandescent and halogen bulbs, as well as some magnetic low voltage type lights.  If you wish to use CFL or LED bulbs, we recommend  using a RadioRA 2 switch to control them.  Dimmable CFL and LED bulbs are still fairly new to the market, and Lutron RadioRA 2 does not support their dimming as of yet.

Q: Why should I dim my lights and what are the advantages?

A: Dimming any light, reduces the energy used by that bulb.  By dimming just 25%, you get an average savings of 20%.  For a single light, this may not have too much of an impact, but if you look at all the lights you commonly use, then add up the wattage of all the bulbs; that can add up to a significant savings.  The other advantage is creating the mood or ambience you desire.  If you have a beautiful chandelier, you may not want people to wince when they look at it because it is so bright, or if you are having an evening party you may want to have the lights at that perfect level that promotes warmth in the room and accentuates your home.

Q: So I understand why I should dim my lights, but why should I dim my lights using Lutron RadioRA 2 rather than a normal dimmer?

A: Besides the many other advantages such as wireless control, control from anywhere in the house, timed events, occupancy capability, repeating exact scene levels, all from the touch of a button or on your iPhone/iPad/iPod Touch or Android™ device. Most people have at least one dimmer in their household, and most of the time when they turn that light on, they just turn it straight to maximum, therefore, not fully utilizing the energy saving and mood setting capability of the dimmer.  Lutron RadioRA 2 has a couple of features which ensure that you always get utilization of these features.  All dimmers can be set so that when they are turned on, they have an automatic on level.  This means that when you turn the light on, you can automatically have it turn on to 80%.  Most people just assume that the on level is the full level.  One of the amazing things about our eyes is that they are able to adjust to various light levels.  You have the ability to adjust the level of the light up to full, but most people do not think of that and just continue on thinking that light level is maximum and their eyes adjust.

Immediately this gives you an automatic standard savings of used energy.  RadioRA 2 also has a function that can be activated and deactivated at any time, that will control your energy use during peak energy times (Time Of Use electricity).  This green function will automatically reduce all or selected light levels by a user-set percentage (usually 10%)during the peak times, and then automatically restore full normal usage outside of peak times.  When the system adjusts during these times, it does so over a long period of time (usually 10 minutes), so that the homeowners do not notice a change in the light level.  That means that when it reduces the currently used light power, it dims all the lights by 10% gradually over 10 minutes.  This green feature can be placed on all RadioRA 2 systems.

Q: Which bulb type is the best to use?

A: This is a very controversial topic in the lighting industry.  Lutron has written a great technical paper on this topic.  For now, we recommend halogen in most areas, but it really comes down to personal preference and lifestyle.  The following is a brief description of the pros and cons of each popular bulb type:


    Incandescent: This is the most common bulb type, but is quickly losing ground due to its inefficiency when compared to other bulb types.  Inefficient incandescent bulbs will be slowly phased out over a period of time, starting with the 100 watt plus bulbs, which is supposed to take place in 2012.  This does not mean that your standard incandescent bulb will no longer be available, rather, they will have to meet have to meet energy use maximums according to the light output (lumens) of the bulb.  For example, for bulbs that have the same light output as your standard 60 watt light bulb, they will be required to use no more than 43 watts.  The life of standard incandescent bulbs vary, depending on quality, usage, and dimmer usage.  The common incandescent bulbs have been slated to potentially be phased out over many years; however, there are a lot of discussions currently ongoing about not phasing them out.  Incandescent bulbs produce the preferred warm light that most people are used to.  Their energy use can be reduced by the use of dimmers, the more that they are dimmed, the more energy that is saved.  Incandescent bulbs can be dimmed using any standard dimmer.  These bulbs are the least expensive bulbs on the market.

    Halogen: Halogen bulbs are quickly gaining ground and may likely replace the incandescent bulbs as a standard bulb.  Halogen bulbs are available in most of the standard sizes and use a halogen element inside the bulb.  The light produced by halogen bulbs is the same warm light that is produced by standard incandescent bulbs. In general, the lifespan of these bulbs is longer than most incandescent, depending on the use, quality, and dimming.  Halogen bulbs do offer an energy savings of around 30% over traditional incandescent.  These bulbs also have the advantage of being able to be dimmed by any standard common dimmers that can dim traditional incandescent bulbs.  The price point of these bulbs is slightly more than incandescent bulbs, but will likely come down as they gain popularity.  It has been estimated many times that halogen bulbs and LED bulbs will dominate the market in the many years to come.  Halogen bulbs are not included in the phase-out.

    Compact Fluorescent Light Bulb (CFL Bulbs): These bulbs carry a lot of controversy.  CFL bulbs have a spiral fluorescent element, that is sometimes contained in a bulb.  These quickly gained ground in the marked due to their high energy savings, about 75%, and their stated long life spans.  However, people quickly started to discover that these bulbs normally do not come anywhere near the stated lifespans.  The reason for this is that these bulbs go through lifespan testing in optimal conditions and orientation.  That is upright (ballast at the bottom) and open air.  The problem is that the bulb does produce heat, and contains a ballast at the bottom of the bulb.  When these bulbs are installed upside down, or on their side (like on a ceiling), and enclosed cover, the heat generated, "heat soaks" the ballast, and thus shortens the life significantly.  The other issues most people have with these bulbs are that the colour is not consistent between bulbs, and they normally emit a dull white light.  They also have a start up time, as you may notice when you initially turn them on it takes a few moments to reach full light, and is usually accompanied by slight flickering.

Some CFL bulbs are dimmable, but you must purchase a dimmable CFL bulb at a much higher cost, also making sure that your dimmer will work with the dimmable CFL bulb.  Dimmable CFL bulbs are fairly new to the market, as such they are not supported by many dimmers.  CFL bulbs do contain mercury, but in very small quantities.  There have been some radical disposal techniques shown when one breaks, but the real problem here is that they are not supposed to be disposed of in the garbage.  You are supposed to bring them to your local disposal site or CFL bulb drop offs at some stores, which most people do not.  As such, we have large quantities of mercury containing bulbs making their way to our garbage sites.  CFL bulbs are about 2 to 3 times the price of standard incandescent bulbs, dimmable CFL bulbs currently cost many times more than even standard CFL bulbs.  They may slowly drop off the market due to halogen and LED bulbs.  Lutron RadioRA 2 can switch these bulbs on and off, but do not yet support dimming the dimmable CFL bulbs due to how new to the market they are.


Light Emitting Diode (LED) Bulbs: LED bulbs are the newer consumer bulbs on the market.  It is expected that they will dominate the market in many years; however, they do require some growth to reach that point.  LED bulbs have the highest potential for energy savings, more than CFL.  Their life spans are estimated as greatly more than any other bulb available.  They do not contain an element of any kind, so they are much more resistant to damage (besides from the circuitry). They can be thrown out as normal bulbs (however, they probably should be recycled due to the internal electronics), and even have pot-light forms.  As amazing as these bulbs are, there are a few down sides that will likely improve considerably over many years as people use them more.  The light produced by these bulbs is generally not as bright as any of the other bulbs.

The colour of the light produced by LED bulbs is usually a dull white light.  The size of the bulbs is normally slightly larger than your standard bulbs.  Some LED bulbs can also be dimmed, but also require the use of a special dimmer and a special dimmable LED bulb.  The bulb sizes and types are somewhat limited.  LED bulbs currently cost much higher than CFL bulbs and dimmable LED bulbs cost slightly higher than dimmable CFL bulbs.  As previously stated though, LED bulbs are fairly new to the market and are expected to change as they become more popular, so much so that they may just dominate the market in many years.  Just as with the CFL bulb, Lutron RadioRA 2 can switch these bulbs, but do not yet support dimming the dimmable LED bulbs due to how new to the market they are.

Q: What are dimmer load maximums?

A:  Every dimmer has a maximum load that it can handle.  The load is simply the total wattage of all the bulbs that the dimmer controls.  To calculate the load on a switch/dimmer, first figure out what lights are controlled by the dimmer/switch in question.  Every bulb in the controlled lights will have a wattage written on it, add together all the wattages from every bulb and that total is the load for that switch.  For example, if you have a switch that controls a chandelier and that chandelier has 16 bulbs and each bulb is 40 watts, then the total for that switch is 640 watts.  It is very important that the dimmer you have is rated for a higher wattage than what it controls.  So for the chandelier in the above example, you would require a dimmer that is greater than 600 watts.  Most hardware store dimmers are 300 or 600 watt dimmers, sometimes you can find 800 or 1000 watt dimmers.

Q: What happens if the control system (repeaters) lose power or stop working?  Will my RadioRA 2 dimmers & switches still work?

A: Lutron RadioRA 2 dimmers and switches all function as normal dimmers and switches regardless of connection to the control system (main repeater).  Remotes and keypads will not function without connection to the main repeater; however, hybrid keypads (keypads that have a dimmer built in) will still control the lights connected to it (usually using the top button).

Q: Why choose Lutron RadioRA 2?

A: Lutron has been around since the late 1950's.  The founder, Joel Spira invented the dimmer switch and then opened Lutron.  Their focus is on high quality lighting control devices (dimmers, switches, etc).  Their products go through extensive testing and research before being brought to the market.  The first generation of RadioRA came out in 1997 and was only recently replaced with RadioRA 2, so you do not need to worry too much about generation changes that would put your system behind the times.  Most of their products are produced in North America, allowing for much better quality control.  Lutron and Lutron RadioRA 2 have won numerous awards for their products.  All around, Lutron RadioRA 2 is a rock solid, high quality product that will provide you with years of enjoyment.

Copyright © 2012 Renfrey, All rights reserved

Please contact us with any comments or questions

Lutron product and room pictures are copyright ©2012 Lutron Electronics, Inc.

Lutron, RadioRA, Sivoia, and Triathlon are trademarks of Lutron Electronics Co., Inc.

Apple, iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch are trademarks of Apple Inc.

Google and Android are trademarks of Google Inc.

Logitech and Logitech Harmony is either a registered trademark or

trademark of Logitech in the United States and/or other countries.

All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners